If you suffer from nagging hip pain this article is for you. As a runner with a desk job, I have struggled with hip flexor pain for a long time. I have recently found making one simple change has virtually eliminated pain and discomfort in my hips!
In general, swapping out a normal office chair for a kneeling chair can reduce or eliminate hip flexor pain. A kneeling chair encourages better posture and pelvic alignment which reduces pressure on the hip while stretching the muscles. In addition, sitting in a kneeling position has other benefits that can greatly reduce pain and inflammation in the hips.
Sitting for prolonged periods of time can greatly aggravate hip issues and increase pain and discomfort. However, changing to a kneeling chair can be just the solution to improve and possibly eliminate hip pain. Read on for more information on how kneeling chairs work and the amazing benefits of using one.
How Kneeling Chairs Work
Kneeling chairs are typically designed with a sloping seat and knee pads to support the knees and shins. This changes the angle of the hips and spine and distributes more of the body weight to the knees and shins.
When using a kneeling chair, the knees are usually positioned below the hips which encourages the pelvis to tilt forward. This pelvic tilt helps align the spine in a more natural position and reduces the pressure on the hip flexors.
Kneeling chairs encourage the use of core muscles to maintain balance in the kneeling position. Engaging the core muscles while sitting promotes good posture and keeps the body actively engaged.
Why Use a Kneeling Chair
There are a lot of benefits to using a kneeling chair which can reduce or eliminate hip flexor pain. In addition to being good for the hip flexors, there are many other areas the body can benefit from its design.
Below are some of the benefits of using a kneeling chair.
- Improves Posture: As discussed above, the design of the chair causes the pelvis to tilt forward allowing for a more natural position of the spine. In addition, as you need to activate your core to keep your balance you are more likely to sit in a more upright position.
- Reduces pressure on the hips: The sloping seat distributes more of the body’s weight away from the hips and into the knees and shins.
- Stretches and loosens up muscles in the hips and thighs: Both the forward pelvic tilt and improved upright posture help to stretch and muscles in the hips and thighs.
- Activates the core muscles: The core muscles are engaged to help balance the body in a kneeling position. It is also easier to use these muscles as it is more comfortable to sit upright with the unique design of the chair. For more on fun core exercises see my article here.
- Improves circulation to the legs: Improved circulation can help reduce inflammation and promote healing.
- Active sitting experience: Unlike a traditional chair, a kneeling chair allows for and encourages more dynamic movement.
How to Choose a kneeling chair
There are many designs and features to choose from to personalize a chair for your comfort and needs. Things to consider will be adjustability, cushioning, stability, mobility, price, and reviews.
- Adjustability: Be sure the kneeling chair can adjust to your height and body type. The seat and knee pads should be adjustable for your height and leg length. You can buy chairs designed for shorter and taller individuals to ensure it will be a better fit.
- Cushioning and comfort: Look for chairs with well padded seat and knee pads. If you do suffer from some knee issues, choosing a chair with extra cushioning in the knee pads will be a higher priority. In addition, a back rest can provide additional comfort and additional position, but can also encourage a less ideal posture.
- Stability: Choose a chair with a sturdy frame and base that can support your weight without tipping.
- Mobility: The weight and size of chairs differ so consider ones that can be easily moved or if a rolling chair is best for your needs.
- Price: Kneeling chairs can vary in price from very affordable to quite expensive. Be sure to consider the points above to find the best chair for you that is within your budget.
- Reviews: Be sure to read reviews from other customers before purchasing. Be sure to pay attention to the features as well as the overall quality of the chair.
Cautions of using a kneeling chair
Kneeling chairs may not be suitable for everyone. Those suffering from arthritis or knee or hip problems may find a kneeling chair aggravates these areas.
Using a kneeling chair for extended periods of time can be uncomfortable for some people. The pressure on the knees and shins can be uncomfortable and may even cause pain.
As with most changes, it can take time for the body to adapt. Be patient and gradually increase usage over time for the best results.
Regardless of the chair you use, it is important to take regular breaks and vary your sitting position throughout the day. Incorporating some stretches targeting the hip flexors may also be beneficial.
My Experience with a kneeling chair
I’ve struggled with hip flexor pain on and off for years as a runner with a desk job. I was always trying new exercises and incorporating different strategies to mitigate and eliminate hip aches and pain.
Incorporating clam shell exercises, foam rolling, learning to sleep on my back instead of my side (keep pressure off my hips), and stretches all helped (see my article here for more on the benefits of stretching). However, I found that when my training volume increased, these strategies were not enough to keep my hips healthy and pain free.
I thought of getting a kneeling chair but wasn’t convinced that it would be worth the investment. Then one day I came across one in decent shape at a secondhand store, so I immediately purchased it.
I can’t believe the difference it has made! My hip flexors don’t hurt at all, and I haven’t done anything different except increase my training!
I spend a LOT of time at my desk, so I know it is the chair that is making the difference. My posture is better, my body is more engaged, and I no longer have any hip pain – wahoo!
A kneeling chair has been incredible for eliminating my hip pain, but there is one downside I’ve noticed. My shins ache more than before as the padding is not as thick or comfortable as I need.
For me, the chair is a total success even though it’s harder on my shins. I find that placing ice pack on the knee pad reduces the aching and I tend to move around more overall. If you suffer from shin splints you should check out this miracle exercise that worked for me here.
If you suffer from chronic hip flexor pain as a runner with a desk job, I highly recommend a kneeling chair. It does take a little getting used to, but just this one small change will likely improve the health of your hips.
Kneeling chairs are uniquely designed to open up the angle of the hips and distributes body weight into the knees and shins. This reduces pressure on the hips, stretches the hip muscles, and encourages better circulation to reduce inflammation and pain.
Using a kneeling chair in conjunction with a good routine of strength training and stretching can help reduce hip pain for those who sit a lot. It may not be effective for everyone, but it is a simple change that can have amazing results so why not give it a try.